Hiring and recruiting trends for 2022

By Jolene Risch

For the past two years, the pandemic has reshaped the way we work. In 2022, many of the recruiting trends of the past two years continue. In addition to the pandemic, companies have faced a multitude of issues that have changed the way Americans think about work:

  • National conversations about compensation and minimum wage
  • A “Great Resignation”
  • A major shift in the service and hospitality industries
  • Renewed commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion at work
  • Revitalized discussions about working hours, child care, parental leave and flexibility

For companies and talent alike, these are the trends we anticipate will dominate hiring and recruiting in 2022. 

Diversity, equity and inclusion is a must-have for employees (not a wish-list item) 

If companies haven’t already implemented a robust DEI strategy, they’re behind. Potential hires want to know what you have been doing to address equity — not what you plan to do in the future. For large companies, that includes more than a statement in your employee handbook. It includes representation in leadership and on committees, hiring strategies at all company levels, corporate policies, partnerships and training. If you’re a small business, employees want to know you foster an inclusive environment, commit to employee development, and have pathways to help all employees meet their career goals. 

Flexibility is top priority

The traditional workday has been ushered into a new era, and that’s not going to change when the pandemic ends. Not all employees want to work all of their hours from their dining room tables. But, they do want one thing the pandemic gave them: flexibility. The workforce of 2022 craves autonomy. Employees want to skip the daily commute, be able to pick up their kids when they get out of school, work from home sometimes and have more flexibility in the way they design their schedules. Many professionals have spent the last few years creating new habits, like working at the hours of the day when they can be most productive. (Or working in the places where they can be most focused.) 

If you’re a company who wants top talent, there’s a good chance you’ll need to be open to hiring remotely, creating a hybrid model or being open-minded about the traditional 8-to-5 working hours. 

In a reshuffled workforce, skills may override experience

We’ve written before about the rise of skills-based hiring. The Great Resignation has left many talented employees pondering a complete career change. We see that as an opportunity for hiring teams. There are talented, driven employees from sectors like hospitality, health care and education with transferable skills. Your job as a hiring team is to understand how those skills add value to your organization — even if the candidate lacks industry experience. 

Companies need to create pathways for those who
didn’t resign 

All this talk about the Great Resignation makes it seem like everyone quit their job last year. But that’s not true, and it’s important that employers consider the needs of those who stayed put. For employers who lost a tidal wave of workers last year, we know the priority has been back-hiring for the positions that needed to be filled…yesterday. However, the Great Resignation didn’t end in 2021. And the key to staying afloat for many companies will be preventing even more attrition. 

How do you keep your current employees around when they’re on their way to burn out? Here are a few ideas: 

  • Learn about their goals. Help them pave a pathway to get there through training, up-skilling and professional development. 
  • Show your appreciation, through words of encouragement, emails, bonuses or promotions. 
  • Engage them. Make your employees a part of the dialogue. Improve both top-down and bottom-up communication funnels so employees have a say in the organization’s decision-making. 

Wellness programs attempt
to offset burnout

It’s no secret: We’re tired. The last few years of chronic stress have taken a toll on our morale. Companies can’t make promises about an end to the pandemic, but they can appreciate that their employees feel stressed. More organizations are implementing wellness programs or benefits that prioritize physical and mental health. Here are a few we’ve seen: 

  • Gym memberships or fitness stipends
  • Increased paid leave
  • Access to mental health resources
  • Paid mental health days
  • Flexible working hours or remote working arrangements
  • Professional development and education
  • Paid volunteer or community days
  • Parent and caretaker support
  • Access to stress relief resources
  • Company-wide celebrations, morale boosters and time off

I can’t promise 2022 will be an uneventful (or a predictable) year. But we recruiters know, great talent is out there waiting to be hired. And companies who are mindful of these important trends may have a leg up on those who aren’t. To prepare yourself and your business for the year ahead, prioritize (if you haven’t already) DEI, flexibility, up-skilling and wellness into your hiring and retention strategy. 

Jolene Risch is president of Risch Results.

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